January Alumni Spotlight: Amanda Szuch Finds her Rhythm
When Amanda Szuch graduated from Faith Baptist Bible College in 2009, the job market for music teachers was in a state of disharmony. The recession was at a crescendo, which meant less funding for schools…and fewer jobs for teachers. With perseverance and patience, Amanda eventually found her rhythm.
“I knew that God was leading me into teaching in a public school, and I decided that I just needed to be patient and try to get more experience through subbing,” said Amanda. “I subbed in nine districts and ended up subbing for two-and-a-half years. While I can now look back and appreciate that experience, it wasn’t always easy when I wanted my own teaching job.”
A former national Talents for Christ winner as a cello player, Amanda wasn’t used to being a spectator. But God always has a reason for everything, and His timing is always perfect. Just like all the hours she spent diligently learning to play the cello, her dedication to substitute teaching eventually paid off.
“One of the teachers that I subbed for was the same teacher I had done field experience with as a college student,” said Amanda. “She called me up one day and told me of a job opening up in the middle of the year in a school district where I had not been subbing. This is the job I am at right now! Looking back now I am so amazed that God placed me in the perfect school at just the right time.”
Amanda began her full-time teaching career at North Polk Community School District in Polk City, Iowa, which borders Ankeny, where she is originally from. North Polk is a fast-growing community, providing an allegro tempo that is both challenging and rewarding.
“I am currently in my eighth year of teaching K-4 Elementary Music and I love it,” said Amanda. “I teach my students to sing, perform instruments (recorder, xylophone, and ukulele), and be artful musicians.”
Miss Szuch teaches 23 sections of classes with a total of over 500 students. She appreciates the musical education she received from Faith, with special respect for the conducting classes she took, which have been invaluable in her career. Learning how to conduct was just one of the ways Faith prepared Amanda for her career.
“One way that Faith greatly prepared me for my job was with compiling a portfolio,” said Amanda. “I completed one portfolio over college course work and one portfolio over student teaching. After graduating, I assumed I would be done with portfolio creation. I was wrong! I’ve created two since then. One was a requirement to obtain my standard license and one was a requirement for my Master’s degree. After so much practice creating a portfolio, these two were easy, and I even helped other new teachers at my school who were unsure of the process.”
After she graduated from Faith, Amanda earned a Master’s degree from Viterbo University, a Mastery Certification in Kodaly from Drake University, and two levels of Orff Schulwerk from Drake University. She is also certified in Feierabend’s First Steps Curriculum from Anderson University.
Amanda is thankful for her ministry and career in music. She started piano at age five, and cello at age eight. She encourages prospective music students to get plenty of field experience and to take field observations seriously because it is an opportunity to learn and also to network. Overall, the opportunity to share her passion and gift of music with the next generation of musicians is the chorus of a life song that still has many verses yet to be composed.